How many vulnerable apps are on the average PC? Way too many

The average PC user in the UK and US has a worrying amount of apps installed which are past their end-of-life date, and are therefore no longer patched or kept secure by the software vendor – offering a potentially easy way for malicious parties to exploit the computer in question.

This news comes from Flexera Software’s ‘Country Reports’, which uses data drawn from the firm’s Secunia Personal Software Inspector utility (in the last quarter of 2016) that indicates the average UK user has 72 programs installed on their machine and 6.7% of them are end-of-life (the figure was 7.4% in the US).

So which are the most dangerous pieces of software based on Flexera’s ‘risk exposure’ assessment in the report? At the top of the list was Apple iTunes 12.x, followed by Oracle Java JRE 1.8.x/8.x and then VLC Media Player 2.x.

Flash and the furious

As for the most-used software which has gone past its end-of-life, that was Adobe Flash Player 23.x. Older versions of Chrome and Firefox browsers, QuickTime and Oracle Java JRE also featured on this top 10 list.

The stats, which encompassed millions of users (across the UK and US, as well as 10 other countries besides) also found that 7.2% of users in the UK had unpatched Windows installations (presumably those running older versions like Windows XP, which some folks still are despite the obvious security risks). In the US, again the figure was slightly higher at 7.5%.

Kasper Lindgaard, Director of Secunia Research at Flexera Software, commented: “Private PC users should continually scan their devices and remove end-of-life programs from their systems. Within a business setting, security teams should collaborate closely with their Software Asset Management teams to discover and inventory their application estate and remove any unsupported, end-of-life programs.”

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).